Triaging Time: Four Timewasters that May Not Occur to You

Triaging Time: Four Timewasters that May Not Occur to You by Laura Stack #productivity

I'm a big believer in recovering lost time by killing timewasting behaviors, jettisoning useless tasks, and tightening work processes. But no matter how well you've triaged your schedule, you can probably do even more. That's because most of us engage in small, thoughtless actions or omissions that cost us time. Let's look at the worse time-nibblers you may still engage in. 1. Randomly checking email. Even if you've made a commitment to spend less time on your email, it's too easy to log on to see what's come in just before you knock off for lunch or take that much-needed break. Before you know it, you've lost 15 minutes. Clamp down on this temptation, unless you're expecting an important email that requires a prompt response. Spend time planning out a project instead. 2. Failing to … [Read more...]

Hard Work Versus Talent

Laura shares her thoughts on hard work versus talent. (C) 2015 Laura Stack. All Rights Reserved. … [Read more...]

Distractions and the Open Office Environment

Distractions and the Open Office Environment By Laura Stack #productivity

Many workplaces today feature more open spaces and smaller, and often shared, workstations. These open floor plans have become “the new normal” in many organizations. Some people speak of them positively, citing the ability to collaborate with coworkers and the creative feeling they can inspire. However, I hear just as many complaints about the walk-in visitors, interruptions, and noise level negatively affecting workplace satisfaction, productivity, and speech privacy. According to research from UC Irvine, office workers are interrupted once every 11 minutes, and it can take up to 23 minutes to get back to what you were doing before you were interrupted. The brain isn't a marvel of infinite capacity; we are, after all, only human, with all the limitations that implies. One limitation li … [Read more...]

Embracing Cross-Functionality in the Organization

Enjoy this week's podcast---Embracing Cross-Functionality in the Organization … [Read more...]

The Eternal Question: Is it Better to Beg Forgiveness, or Ask Permission?

The Eternal Question: Is it Better to Beg Forgiveness, or Ask Permission? by Laura Stack #productivity

You’ve probably heard Grace Hopper's famous axiom, "It's better to beg forgiveness than ask permission." As a child, my father used to tell me that all the time! As a pioneering computer scientist and one of the first female admirals in the U.S. Navy, "Amazing Grace" surely learned the value of begging forgiveness rather than asking permission during her long, storied career. Indeed, Hopper's Law seems to make a lot of sense in many real-world situations. But is it applicable to the workplace? The answer, as with so many other business questions, is, “It depends.” There are reasonable arguments for both sides of the equation, depending on the circumstances. For example, if you're an IT tech, you definitely want to ask permission before changing or upgrading the operating system of an imp … [Read more...]

Written Work Commitments: Stroke of Genius, or Total Timewaster?


"People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine." -- Brian Tracy Most of us work in “at-will” jobs, meaning our companies can terminate us whenever they want, without warning; then again, we can leave whenever we want. Contractual obligations bind neither side. With the exception of high-level execs who insist on them to protect their interests, contracts aren't often seen in the workplace nowadays. But maybe they should be, in a looser, less-binding sense than traditionally used. As a leader, have you ever considered the concept of written work commitments for each of your team members, so you can evaluate how you’re all progressing every quarter? This isn't a traditional contract that would need to be revie … [Read more...]

Too Valuable to Lose: 7 Ways to Be Indispensable at Work


"The most important thing for workers to understand is that you have to make yourself indispensable. You must make money for your employer or make his life easier, preferably both. Also, you have to learn as much as you can about your chosen endeavor." -- Bill O'Reilly, American TV commentator and author. I usually discourage my readers from trying to make themselves indispensable at work, because when you do that, you limit your opportunities for promotion. While you may have some advantage when it comes to getting raises, your supreme competence and usefulness to your superiors makes them unwilling to let you go. Perhaps at 45 it’s because I’m getting older, but I’m also becoming more of a realist due to business conditions these days. Job security remains a top priority for many of u … [Read more...]

Subconscious Self-Sabotage: What It Is and How to Avoid It


"Those who say life is knocking them down and giving them a tough time are usually the first to beat themselves up. Be on your own side." -- Rasheed Ogunlaru, British life coach and speaker. Have you ever figuratively shot yourself in the foot, by doing something so stupid it compromised your job or career? Do you ever feel like you're really two people, one driven to achieve, while the other holds you back, like an anchor buried in rock? Do you sometimes think you don't really deserve what you've accomplished in life—you're really a fraud who's always faking it—and people just can't tell? If you can honestly say no, then you're one of those rare people so confident in yourself, in where you're going, and your way of doing things—that you never have to worry this topic of self- … [Read more...]